Years ago, an MU student, studying to be a teacher, served as a member of Bill Fisher’s cleaning crew in the Daniel Boone Regional Library. He came back decades later — in 2005 — after he had retired as a teacher to see if Fisher was still there. He was. And he was still there until yesterday, when, at the age of 68, he retired after more than 40 years of service.
Fisher, who served as head of the library’s department of building and grounds, had worked in all of the libraries. Each week he helped out wherever he could. His retirement marked the end of Bill Fisher Month, which was declared by the library’s board of trustees.
Each morning — first thing — Fisher would check the building temperatures by inspecting all of the thermostats. He’d also check on equipment to make sure everything was working. He even checked to make sure the cleaning crew had done its job the night before to his satisfaction. It was important to him to make sure every duty was completed, and completed correctly. “I’m not a perfectionist, but I do believe in completing a job,” Fisher said. “I like to see that it’s completed on a day-to-day basis with 110 percent effort.”
Fisher’s favorite task was fixing things. He especially enjoyed the little things such as repairing light fixtures and replacing batteries in the automatic flush system. The completion of each task gave him a sense of accomplishment.
“The thing I love about my job is the idea that, on a daily basis, everything changes. It’s not repetitious. Today it might be one thing, tomorrow it might be something else,” Fisher said. “We might have a window breakage or might have a plumbing problem. I guess that’s what has been most interesting to me — the constant changes from day to day. Nothing was just set in stone.”
Elinor Barrett, associate director of the library, talks about Fisher with affection. She describes him as someone with a heart of gold. “I’ve never heard him say ‘no’ to anything, and if I did, it was ‘no problem, we can do it,’” Barrett said.
Sherry McBride-Brown, the library’s outreach services librarian, compared Fisher to the Energizer Bunny. “He was always getting on me for staying too late, but I’d be leaving and he’d still be here,” she said. He usually came into work around 7 a.m. and sometimes wouldn’t leave until around midnight. He hardly ever missed a day of work. At one point, Fisher recalls, all of the library department heads were required to wear ties. Even then Fisher remained ready to tackle any messy job, keeping a change of clothes in his locker.
He even cooked for the library staff. Over the years he prepared and served a variety of food, including turkey, barbecue ribs, homemade cinnamon rolls and his famous Christmas punch. Tuesday, his final day at the library, he brought in bread pudding from a restaurant in Fayette.
His life outside work was filled with activity, too. He has served as mayor of Fayette since 2000. He is the father of thirteen children, ranging in age from 36 to 51, grandfather of ten and the great-grandfather of two.
Fisher said he’ll miss the people he works with the most. He thinks the people who don’t work for him will miss him. As for the people who do work for him, Fisher thinks they will probably say “good riddance.” Fisher plans to keep busy and continue on as the mayor of Fayette. He also plans to travel. He says his wife thinks he’s going to lose his mind, but he says he’s going to prove her wrong. “I’m going to see how the other folks live that didn’t go to work,” he said.